Since I was diagnosed with severe asthma last year I’m very cautious about the air I breathe. That’s why I pay attention to prescribed burn notices in and around Yosemite to make sure I don’t have any issues. That means if you’ve got asthma like me, you’ll probably want to stay away from the Wawona area while this prescribed burn takes place this week as it may make the air a little less than favorable.
Yosemite National Park Fire Managers are planning a prescribed fire in the northwest Wawona area in the southern portion of the park on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. The ignition of the burn is dependent on weather conditions. Favorable weather is expected throughout the week, which will allow for optimal smoke dispersion. The total prescribed fire area will include 846 acres and is estimated to take several days to one week to complete. This will be the first prescribed fire of the 2012 fire season.
The prescribed fire will take place in the vicinity of the 2007 lighting caused fire, known as the Jack Fire. The fire is designed to reduce hazardous fuels in the Wawona Wildland Urban Interface area. Burning this segment will form a barrier to the community of Wawona from the spread of unwanted wildfire approaching from Turner Ridge to the north and from the South Fork Merced River drainage to the northwest. This project ties together multiple and historical research, natural and prescribed fires, and mechanical thinning.
Another objective for this project is to conduct ecosystem restoration by applying fire to landscape adapted to thrive in fire conditions. Fire is a natural process that plays an integral role in shaping the Yosemite landscape. Densities of shade tolerant tree species, such as white fir and incense cedar, and forest litter and duff have accumulated to unnatural levels in the absence of fire. Through the application of fire, a more natural vegetation composition on the forest floor can flourish.
Smoke from the fire may be visible throughout the park, but may be more evident in the Wawona area and the southern portion of the park. Additionally, fire equipment and fire crews will be present in the area of the fire and along roadways. Visitors and park employees are urged to drive slowly and with caution through the burn area.